Wick­low un­der-15s pip Le­in­ster fi­nal­ists Por­tar­ling­ton

Bray People - - SPORT -

Por­tal­ing­ton U-15s 20 Wick­low U-15s 21

WICK­LOW TRAV­ELLED to Por­tar­ling­ton to face a fan­cied side that is through to the fi­nal of the Le­in­ster League. Wick­low, se­verely de­pleted by ill­ness and in­jury came away with a win by the nar­row­est of mar­gins af­ter a pul­sat­ing game.

Wick­low - as is their wont this sea­son - started some­what meekly and let in a soft try within two min­utes. Some good ac­tion fol­lowed with Wick­low spend­ing time in the op­po­si­tion 22, but un­for­tu­nately com­ing away with­out points. The Por­tar­ling­ton boys showed they were up for the game with a fine run up the cen­tre. Weak tack­ling by Wick­low let the Laois men in again on 12 min­utes. Like the first try, the con­ver­sion was missed but Port were al­ready ahead by ten.

This fi­nally pro­voked a re­sponse and some fine in­ter­play be­tween backs and for­wards took Wick­low into the 22 again but this time Seán Duffy fin­ished off a fine move un­der the posts. For good mea­sure he con­verted his own try. Wick­low looked com­fort­able for the next pe­riod and on 19 min­utes Ste­fan Nixon, hav­ing a fine first game at scrum-half, crossed over. Duffy again added the con­ver­sion.

The game now opened up and a num­ber of at­tack­ing moves ended in turnovers by both sides un­til Por­tar­ling­ton crossed for a third, con­verted try. The ac­tion-filled first half ended 17-14.

Wick­low faced a stiff breeze and a slight in­cline in the sec­ond half and con­ceded a kick­able penalty to make the score 20-14 only three min­utes in. Af­ter this Por­tar­ling­ton were kept score­less while both sides set­tled into a even­ly­matched and com­pet­i­tive game. How­ever, Wick­low never lost sight of the fact that only a sin­gle score sep­a­rated the sides and in the 24th minute, Dar­ragh Ka­vanagh play­ing in the cen­tre made a ter­rific 20-me­tre carry straight up the mid­dle of the pitch. The re­sult­ing ruck se­cured the ball and Philip Snell did the dam­age un­der the posts to help Duffy who duly added the ex­tras. The job was not fin­ished as Wick­low now had to de­fend the nar­row­est of leads. A se­ries of scrums and line-outs were de­fended in their own 22 un­til the clock wound down. One fi­nal line-out was caught by Port but the catcher was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dragged into touch by Cathal Con­roy to end the game.

This vic­tory comes at the right time for Wick­low who face Tul­low next Sun­day in the semi-fi­nal of the Bo­den Shield. The match is at 1.30 p.m. in Ash­town Lane and serves as the cur­tain-raiser for the First XV Towns Cup clash with Tul­low at 3 p.m. Thrills ex­pected in both games.

Wick­low U-15s: Seán Duffy, Dy­lan Phe­lan, Andrew Burke, Dar­ragh Ka­vanagh, Ryan O'Toole, Ste­fan Nixon, Eoin Baker, Philip Snell, Robert De­lahunt, Stephen Cruise, Tim Rahill, Cathal Con­roy.

Else­where, Wick­low U-13s de­feated Naas to earn a semi-fi­nal berth in the Le­in­ster Youth Plate competition. Wick­low were in con­trol for long pe­ri­ods only con­ced­ing the sec­ond try in the last play. Fi­nal score 31-12 to the Wick­low boys.

The U-16s were less lucky. Some­what weak­ened by late with­drawals, they went down 14-27 to a strong Na­van side at Ash­town Lane, end­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in this year's competition.

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